The Japanese Spaniel!

This dog has a very elegant, high-stepping gait. Their fashionably feathered tail curls up over their backs. They are almost as long as they are tall, with straight, front legs that are impressively fine-boned. Their upside-down, v-shaped ears are well-covered with hair. This breed, also called the Japanese Chin, has a thick ruff that covers the neck and chest area. This dainty little spaniel has a broad face with softly feathered coat. They have short, broad faces, round foreheads, and a well-defined stop. Their coat markings usually match their nose color. For example, a black and white Japanese Spaniel is expected to have a black nose. They have a really short nasal canal with a wide nose and open nostrils. Their protruding eyes are dark, expressive, and almond-shaped.

Some Quick Facts:

Life Expectancy:
8-10 years

Energy Level:
Less than average

Living Conditions:
Great for apartment and indoor living. Sensitive to extreme temperatures.

Below average.

Exercise Needs:
Minimal exercise needed. Occasional outdoor walk.

Breed Group:


7-11 inches

5-9 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
White with colored patches.

National breed club:
Japanese Chin Club of America

Japanese Spaniel Skills

The Japanese Spaniel is named such not because of their origin but because they were often offered as royal gifts – being the favorite of the Japanese court. This dog is most probably native to Korea but later brought to Japan and other parts of Europe. The popularity of the Japanese Spaniel reached its peak when Commodore Perry gifted Queen Victoria with a pair, upon returning from his mission to open Japan’s doors to world trade. It was only in 1997 that the AKC also knew the Japanese Spaniel as “Japanese Chin”. Whatever their name and origin, this dogs have always been good companion dogs, watch dogs and trick performers.

Japanese Spaniel Personality

The Japanese Spaniel or the Japanese Chin is an excellent watchdog. They are more obedient than other toy breeds and are great for learning tricks. Their characteristics are complimentary yet a little contradicting. These dogs are mild mannered, elegant, yet playful. They are dainty, clean, agile, and yet sensitive. Japanese Spaniels are not barkers but they absolutely love being the center of attention. It has a mind of its own and likes to do things their way. They are good with other dogs and pets but not as okay with children. If and when there is indeed a small child living with the dog, it is important that they be taught to treat the dogs nicely and gently. Though they can be charming, these dogs are really better suited to homes in which there are no kids. They are not lively, happy animals but are extremely charming. They are also intelligent, pleasant, loving, affectionate, and very devoted to their masters.

Exercise Needs

This dog needs very minimal exercise and are the perfect pets for small living spaces like condominiums or apartments.

Living Conditions

Japanese Spaniels are a little sensitive to extreme temperature. They would do well living in an apartment because they are moderately active indoors and will get by fine even without a yard.

Grooming Requirements

This breed is an average shedder. Bathe and dry shampoo only when needed. A few minutes of combing each day is enough to make their coats look beautiful. Cleaning the eyes and ears regularly is good way to ward off infection.

Health Issues

They tend to wheeze and snore, just like other short-faced breeds. They are also prone to respiratory problems and heat prostration.

If you liked this dog… would also like the Poodle, another toy dog that shares some of the traits of a Japanese Spaniel, only they are more sociable, which can actually be an advantage rather than a disadvantage.


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